News from Lori's Parents
October 11, 2000 -- this is day 1,778 of Lori's wrongful incarceration in PeruIn this update:
- Lori sends her thanks to all well-wishers
- Lori to Rhoda: "I am innocent and there can be no evidence against me"
- O.A.S. Hearing
- Fujimori's hold on power is questioned while Lori's "show trial" continues
- October 13 rally at White House
- Student campaign kicks off
Lori sends her thanks to all well-wishers
Rhoda visited Lori on Saturday October 7. Lori wanted to express her appreciation for the hundreds of letters, cards, and notes of encouragement that have been written to her over the past few weeks. She was in good spirits but because her cell is quite dark she has limited her reading and writing activities. She is permitted yard time for two hours per day with other women prisoners and presently has a cellmate.
Lori to Rhoda: "I am innocent and there can be no evidence against me"
Lori reiterated what she said to us years ago, that "the Peruvian government knows full well I had nothing to do with the MRTA or any of its alleged plans and that I am being imprisoned only for my beliefs, not for any acts or deeds -- I am innocent and there can be no evidence against me because it doesn't exist."
On Friday October 13, there will be a preliminary hearing in Washington DC at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States on double jeopardy and the lack of due process in Lori's current trial. Unfortunately, Jose Luis Sandoval Quesada, Lori's Peruvian lawyer, will not be able to attend because he must remain in Peru to observe testimony relating to Lori's case. At the Washington hearing Lori will be represented by two U.S. attorneys, Ramsey Clark and Tom Nooter. The Commission will be deciding whether or not to hold full hearings at a later date.
Fujimori's hold on power is questioned while Lori's "show trial" continues
President Fujimori's power base has been eroding over the past month. A recent Lima poll shows President Fujimori with an approval rating of only 15%. This is the lowest popularity rating that President Fujimori has had in his more than one decade in office. The opposition parties, although not unified in their approaches, are angry at the way the government has been functioning. In addition, the Peruvian economy has failed to reach projected levels of growth, underemployment remains a key problem, and there is widespread dissatisfaction and unrest.
Amidst this uncertainty, Lori's "show trial" is proceeding. It is presently in the information-gathering or first phase which, in Peru, is as important, if not more so, than the oral/public second phase. Written records of the testimony provided by witnesses in this non-public first phase is considered as "evidence" even though these witnesses may never be called to appear later in "court." We have been told that the oral/public phase may begin before mid-November.
Please check the website at www.freelori.org for latest newspaper articles and action updates.
October 13 rally at White House
A rally to Free Lori Berenson will be held in Lafayette Park in front of the White House on Friday, October 13 from 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. Speakers will include Rhoda and Mark Berenson, Kristen Gardner (Lori's college roommate), and Gail Taylor (National Organizer of the Committee to Free Lori Berenson). There will also be music and street theatre.
Student campaign kicks off
Mike Bilotta, Student Organizer of the Committee to Free Lori Berenson, announced the commencement of the fall campaign. One objective is to send President Clinton petitions, letters, postcards from various campuses. A second objective is to start a national listserv for students working for Lori's release. Students interested in more information should contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks for your continued support.- Rhoda and Mark Berenson